Florida's Median Age for COVID-19 Infections Drops to 35 as Spring Break Rolls On

The average age for COVID-19 cases in the state of Florida has dropped to 35, as public health officials say there's been a surge of coronavirus infections among partying vacationers.

State public health data released on March 1 revealed that half of Florida's COVID-19 cases were found in people under the age of 39—but that median age has now fallen to 35. Health care workers across the state say that several infectious mutations of the virus have been found, including the so-called "British strain," which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered among 1,042 people. The CDC noted Monday that Florida does not publish real-time information regarding coronavirus variants and that most data reflect a vast under-count of cases.

State testing shows that the virus is surging in Florida as 6.3 percent of 90,074 recently released test results are coming back positive. In Palm Beach County, 6.6 percent of tests came back positive for COVID-19 among the 6,609 residents who were evaluated. And while spring break partiers and older tourists are being blamed for the increased spread of the virus, state officials are optimistic because vaccination numbers are also rising.

Florida has never had a mask mandate for businesses and Governor Ron DeSantis in September banned local governments from enforcing mandates in their communities.

About 2.9 million people across the state of Florida have been injected with either the Moderna or Pfizer booster shots, The Palm Beach Post reported Monday. Last week, a Florida mother who received the vaccine while pregnant gave birth to a child who is the first recorded case of a newborn with the antibodies.

Saturday marked the fifth straight day in which Florida documented more than 5,000 new infections, an issue that public health officials say is directly correlated to spring break visitors. Palm Beach County alone calculated 130,358 infections on Saturday, a 454-person rise from the day before. Miami-Dade County, which includes Miami Beach, recorded one of the country's worst outbreaks last week, with 1,100 new cases emerging each day. Orange County public health data shows people under the age of 45 are getting the coronavirus as higher rates compared with the start of the pandemic.

The average age of newly infected coronavirus patients statewide fell as low as 30 on one day last week. Miami Beach city officials put a curfew in place in order to try and curb the rise of new cases.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Florida has been steadily rising for weeks, but hospitalizations and deaths are decreasing. Last week, the state amassed about 5,000 cases per day, an increase of 8 percent from the average found two weeks prior.

As The New York Times noted Sunday, Florida is considered a bellwether, or larger indicator of the pandemic's effect on the country as a whole.

Newsweek reached out to the Florida Department of Health for additional information Monday morning.

Florida COVID
Florida is reporting a rise in COVID-19 cases as people continue to crowd onto the state's beaches and streets for spring break. Here, people gather while exiting the area as an 8 p.m. curfew goes into effect on March 21, in Miami Beach, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images